Lines at Infinity : for string orchestra
by Chris Williams (2016)
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Lines at Infinity continues an obsession I have with basic musical shapes - gestures - and an endless fascination with the expressive possibilities of single lines, be they musical, visual, or mathematical. The 'line at infinity' is the line of points at which parallel lines meet, an apparent paradox that can nonetheless be easily understood intuitively. A vanishing point on the horizon of an image can be thought of as a point 'at infinity', the horizon is a line of such points at which, for example, train tracks appear to converge, though they remain in parallel. It is a beautiful perceptual paradox.
Lines at Infinity grows out of two melodic lines, first heard in the violins. They are actually the same line, though at different speeds and alignments, and they repeatedly converge despite being 'in parallel'. Similarly, the piece, in two distinct halves, also converges. Just as the second musical idea establishes itself, we hear it transformed, revealing its relationship to the same, simple, descending line which has absorbed the entire first half of the piece. This simple descending line finally turns into a restless, relentlessly ascending line, before seeming to disappear, converging 'at infinity'.
Duration: 12 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to David Angell
Commission note: Commissioned by David Angell.
The composer has noted the following styles, subjects and influences associated with this work:
geometry, Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performances of this work
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